U.S. Constitutional Law I(T) — Syllabus
Fall 2020
Professor Schnably

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Dean’s Fellow
  • Hui Huang (E-mail: h.huang5@law.miami.edu)
  • Sessions:
    • Tuesdays from 12:30 - 1:20 pm
    • Thursdays from 6:00 - 6:50 pm

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  • Current Assignments: Check this page to see what part of the Syllabus (below) is assigned for upcoming classes.

  • Past Assignments: This page has past assignments and questions so you can keep track of what we’ve covered.


For all the assignments in this syllabus, I suggest that you read over the questions about the material posted on the Current Assignments page before you begin reading the material, and then go over the questions after you have read the material. We may not discuss every single question posted on the Current Assignments page, and I may ask questions in class that I haven’t posted, but in general the questions on the page will reflect what we’re going to go over.

I.    Introduction to the Study of Constitutional Law

      A. Emergency and Power
          1. Textual provisions
              The U.S. Constitution, CB xxxix-liii
              The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Supp. 1-7
              Constitution of the Republic of South Africa (excerpts), Supp. 8-16
              Supp. 17-21 (readings by Bulmer, Forte)
          2. Elections and Emergencies
              Supp. 22-24 (readings by Elias, Primus)
          3. Depression
              CB 952-959 (Home Building & Loan Assn v. Blaisdell & the Contracts Clause)
          4. Pandemics
              Supp. 30-33 (Jacobson v. Comm. of Massachusetts)
              Supp. 34-36 (South Bay United Pentecostal Church v. Newsom)
              Supp. 37-42 (Letter to City of Miami Beach re Panhandling Ban)
      B. Approaches to Constitutional Interpretation
          1. Text and Intent versus Fundamental Rules and Principles
              a. Textualism and Original Intent: Heller v. District of Columbia
                  CB 49-56
              b. Does the Text Tell Us Everything? Reference re Secession of Quebec
                  Supp. 43-54; CB 87-88, CB xliv (Art. II § 2 cl. 1)
          2. The Bank of the United States and the Powers of the Federal Government
              CB 56-69; CB 176, CB 372-373 (note 6) (U.S. Term Limits v. Thornton)
              Supp. 55-59 (reading by Lynch), Supp. 60-62 (Dudgeon)
      C. The Adoption of the U.S. Constitution
          CB 1-22
          CB 392-394 (Curtiss-Wright)

II.    The Role of the Federal Courts in the Constitutional Framework

      A. The Origin of the Power of Judicial Review
          1. Marbury v. Madison
              CB 25-39
              Supp. 63-66 (pardons)
              Background on Marbury v. Madison (optional)
              Susan Low Bloch, The Marbury Mystery: Why Did William Marbury Sue in the Supreme Court?,
                  18 Const. Comment. 607-627 (2001) (optional)
          2. Martin v. Hunter’s Lessee
              CB 39-45
              Supp. 67-68 (The Judiciary Act of 1789, § 25)
      B. The Early Roles of Judicial Review
          1. Judicial Exclusivity in Constitutional Interpretation
              CB 45-49
              Supp. 69-70
          2. Natural Law, Slavery, and Judicial Review
              CB 69-73, 465-470 (State v. Post), CB 470-474 (Dred Scott v. Sandford)
              CB xxxiv, xlii, xlvi, xlvii [Art. I § 2 cl. 3, Art. I § 9 cl. 1; Art. IV §§ 2, 3; Am. V]
              Kat Eschner, President James Buchanan Directly Influenced the Outcome of the Dred Scott Decision,
                  Smithsonian Magazine, March 6, 2017 (optional)
      C. Limitations on the Powers of the Federal Courts
          1. Political Control of the Supreme Court
              a. Amendments, Appointments, Impeachment
                  CB 73-79; Supp. 71-81
              b. Control of Jurisdiction
                  CB 79-86
                  CB 171-174
          2. Advisory Opinions, Standing and Political Question Doctrine
              a. Advisory Opinions
                  CB 87-88 (review); CB xliv (Art. II § 2 cl. 2)
              b. Standing
                  i. Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife
                      CB 114-115 (notes 1 and 2); CB 89-97
                  ii. Widely Diffused Harms
                      CB 121-124 (Note e)
                  iii. Conceptualizing Injury
                      CB 115-118 (Notes 3.a and 3.b) (“Injury in Fact” and “Injuries to Third Parties”), 124-128 (Note 4) (“Nexus”)
                      CB Supp. 15
                  iv. Prudential Standing Limitations
                      CB 132-135 (Notes 1 & 2) (“Prudential Standing and Injury in Fact” and “Prudential Concerns and the Political Process”)
              c. Political Question Doctrine
                  CB 137-153
              d. Ripeness & Mootness
                  CB 170-171

III.    Separation of Powers: The Allocation of Powers within the Federal Government

      A. Introduction
          CB 377-380
          CB Supp. 61-62
      B. Approaches to Determining the Distribution of Federal Powers
          CB 380-392
          CB Supp. 62-64
      C. The President, Congress, and Foreign Affairs
          1. Executive Authority in Foreign Affairs
              a. Curtiss-Wright

                  CB 392-394 (review)
              b. Dames & Moore, Medellin, and Zivotofsky
                  CB 394-401, 419-421
          2. Warmaking Authority
              CB 401-403
      D. Domestic Affairs

          1. The President
              a. Executive Privilege, Immunity, and Impeachment
i. Executive Privilege
                      CB 421-425 (through Note 1.a); CB 428-429 (Notes 2 and 3)
                  ii. Immunity from Civil Process, Civil Suit, and Damages
                      CB 425-428 (Notes 1.b & 1.c); CB xli [Art. I § 6 cl. 1]
                      CB Supp. 71-91 (Trump v. Vance), 91-103 (Trump v. Mazars, USA)
                  iii. Impeachment; Indictment
                      CB 429-433
                      CB Supp. 69-71
          2. Nondelegation/Administrative Authority
              Optional Background: American Government, §§ 8a, 8b, and 8c
              a. Nondelegation Doctrine
                  CB 433-438
                  CB Supp. 103-111
              b. Administrative Authority
                  CB 445-448, 459-460 (Note 4 (Double Insulation))
          3. Administrative Agencies and the Separation of Powers
              a. Textualist/Strict Separation/Nondeferential Approaches
                  i. INS v. Chadha
                      CB 438-445
                  ii. Bowsher and Metropolitan Airports
                      CB 448-450, 457 (Note 1); CB 462-463 (Note 6)
              b. Pragmatic/Deferential Approaches
                  i. Morrison v. Olson
                      CB 450-457; CB 457-458 (Note 2)
                      CB Supp. 75-76
                  ii. Mistretta
                      CB 458-459 (Note 3 (Mistretta and the “Twilight” Area))
              c. Casting Deference into Doubt
                  CB Supp. 113-127

IV.    Federalism: The Allocation of Powers between the Federal and State Governments

      A. The Purpose of the Commerce Clause / The First Period of Interpretation
      B. Before the New Deal: The Second Period of Interpretation of the Commerce Clause
      C. The New Deal and Its Legacy: The Third Period of Interpretation of the Commerce Clause
      D. Contemporary Interpretations of the Commerce Clause
      E. The Power to Tax and Spend; Other Powers

V.    Federalism: Constitutional and Federal Statutory Limits on State Power

      A. Introduction: Federal Limits on State Regulation
      B. Dormant Commerce Clause: Strict Scrutiny of State Burdens or Restraints on Interstate Commerce
      C. Dormant Commerce Clause: Scrutiny of Facially Neutral Statutes
      D. Preemption